PSYCH 207 : Theories of Personality and Development


2022 Semester One (1223) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The major personality theories are presented including: Behavioural, Cognitive, Social-Cognitive, Psychodynamic, Humanistic/Phenomenological, Trait/Dispositional and Biological/Evolutionary. The hypotheses generated by these theories, about development from early childhood onwards and about 'normal' and 'abnormal' behaviour, will be discussed and evaluated in terms of empirical evidence and utility. Attention will be paid to cultural issues of relevance in a New Zealand context.

Course Overview

This course will give students insights into how a variety of theories of psychology are used to understand why people differ in the ways they think, feel, and behave (their personality), and how this affects how they grow and develop. The course also gives an important historical overview of how key ideas about why humans behave in particular ways have changed over time. The course is likely to be of interest to students interested in individual differences in behavior and those looking at careers that will involve working closely with others (e.g., clinically, in human resources, education, or business).

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 30 points at Stage I in Psychology

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe how the major theories of personality seek to explain human development from early childhood through to adulthood. (Capability 1 and 2)
  2. Identify and describe the different types of evidence supporting or refuting each of the personality theories. (Capability 1, 2 and 4)
  3. Compare and contrast the major personality theories and their approach to personality structure, process, growth and development, psychopathology, and change. (Capability 1 and 2)
  4. Develop and demonstrate the ability to critically assess the personality theories using a range of criteria. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  5. Describe the applications of the theories in clinical, educational, work and other settings, including limitations. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  6. Describe some of the different cultural perspectives of personality. (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 6)
  7. Explain how key historical shifts in the approach to studying psychology have shaped the development of personality research. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  8. Consider and describe current applications of personality theory, and the relevance of major theoretical perspectives.
  9. Explain key ethical responsibilities associated with working and doing research using different tools in the personality-theory toolbox. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Quiz 20% Individual Test
Assignments 25% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Tutorial task 5% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Final Exam
Tutorial task


The Tuākana (Mentoring) Programme is specifically for Māori and Pacific students and is an Equal Opportunities initiative. It was developed to encourage the success and retention of Māori and Pacific students. In the School of Psychology, the Tuākana Programme aims to do this by increasing both social and academic support between students, and between staff and students. The programme mainly involves more senior psychology students working together with less senior students (across all stages) to provide this support throughout the semester.
Benefits of being involved in the Tuākana Programme include:

• Increased support and encouragement.
• Increased communication and access to resources.
• Increased networks – get to know more students.
• Increased enjoyment and opportunity to succeed.

Tuākana Study Space: Study space is available for Māori and Pacific students in Room 198 of Building 303. Please feel welcome and encouraged to use this room, it has some great facilities and is a really good way to meet other students.

For more information and to find contact details for the Tuākana coordinator, please see

Key Topics

  • Psychodynamic Theory
  • Phenomenological Theory
  • Attachment Theory
  • Personal Construct Theory
  • Trait Theory
  • Indigenous Perspectives on Personality
  • Evolutionary Psychology 
  • Behaviourism
  • Social Cognitive Theory
  • Positive Psychology

Special Requirements

Experiential Learning Component
Research is a vital part of psychology – it is how the field learns about human behavior. Being a research participant also helps you come to a better understanding of the research process. As part of the Experiential Learning Component for PSYCH 207, students will be asked to log on to the online participant scheduling system and either (a) participate in two credits worth of research (approximately 2 hours) or (b) complete two alternative writing assignments.  
Completion of either option is part of the plussage requirement for the course (NOTE: you can also complete one alternative writing assignment and one credit worth of research to satisfy the ELC plussage requirement).

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, your week includes approximately 3 hours of lectures, a 1 hour tutorial, 2-3 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 4-5 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

  • Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including tutorials. 
  • A remote version of the course can be made available to students located overseas because of border restrictions, or those with an exemption to study remotely. Different conditions will apply to these students.
  • Each tutorial will have a brief task that can only be completed if you attend tutorials.  You need to adequately complete 5 of the tutorial tasks to receive the full 5%.  
  • Lectures will also be available as recordings.
  •  Other learning activities including tutorials and office hours will not be available as recordings.
  • The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.
  • The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

• Cervone, D. & Pervin, L. (2019). Personality: Theory and research. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. 14th edition.
• Note the 12th and 13th Editions of this textbook can both be used.
• A digital e-copy can also be purchased from UBIQ
• Please note that several copies of the text are also available in the library.
• Please see the Canvas reading list for other recommended texts  if you wish to read more in the general area

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

The contact details of the class representatives will be made available on Canvas but please note you are also welcome to give feedback directly to the lecturers or pop in for a chat during a drop in session.

Other Information

We want every student to succeed on this course and we are here to help make that possible. If you have questions about the course or the course content,  just want to go over things that weren't clear, or simply want to talk about psychology, then please come to a drop in hour, post a question to the discussion board, and or join a study group.  

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

We really want all students to succeed in this course, so please do let us know if there are additional ways we can support you to do well.

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Under the government’s Covid-19 Alert Levels, we anticipate using the following delivery modes. Note this is subject to change depending on the specific circumstances.
Level 1: Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person. The assignment tutorials will have both an in-person option and a remote option. The tutorials that are not related to the assignment are discussion-based and will only be run in person, they will not be streamed or recorded. Students who do not attend these tutorials will be encouraged to attend a weekly zoom drop-in meeting with the teaching team, to ask any questions, or to discuss or go over any content from that week.
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely. 

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 09/11/2021 01:08 p.m.